TripAdvisor shows who is the boss, top source for direct hotel bookings

TripAdvisor has overtaken the OTAs and all other sources to become the number one source of traffic for bookings made in a hotel’s website.

A study by WIHP, a hotel marketing agency, among 15,000+ hotel guests in 2013 highlights more interesting findings. The company has been doing this study since 2011 and surveyed 40,000 hotel guests so far.

TripAdvisor, friends and family and OTAs (in that order) take the top three spots for referrals that lead to direct hotel bookings. In 2012, the top three order was: Friends and family, OTAs, and TripAdvisor.

However, the traffic from OTAs (that leads to direct hotel bookings) has been decreasing year-on-year (since 2011). Traffic from travel agents seem to remain almost the same in the past three years.

WIHP hotel direct bookings 2013

In a recent earnings call, TripAdvisor spoke about the increasing impact of its hotel metasearch feature and how it is noticing less traffic sent to OTAs. Gary Leff, an industry expert spoke about this trend earlier in Tnooz.

WIHP’s survey says it can tentatively attribute TripAdvisor’s lead in the game to the company’s strategy, and its increased friendliness towards independent hotels.

WIHP also says that social media isn’t a good marketing tool, rather it’s a good public relations tool that hotels can use to communicate to guests.

The graph below shows the traffic sources for hotel direct booking for 2012.

WIHP 2 - direct hotel bookings study 2013

NB: Chess image via Shutterstock.

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Karthick Prabu

About the Writer :: Karthick Prabu

Karthick was general manager for Tnooz in Asia until September 2014.



  1. Sara Ford

    Thanks for the informative and interesting material. Could you explain what ‘other’ consists of in the graph? Much appreciated.

  2. jer langhans

    Easter egg?
    You said: “In 2012, the top three order was: Friends and family, OTAs, and TripAdvisor.”
    Isn’t it: In 2012 (red bar), the order was 1) Trip, 2) friends/fam, and 3) OTA’s

    My point being that Trip has been beating OTA’s for ~2 years, not a new thing.


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